Shape Up: The Best Winter Running Tips for All Corners of the Country

While all of us here on the West Coast have been enjoying a pretty warm winter for the past few months (hey, I’m not complaining), we know that you East Coast ladies have been braving blizzards and freezing temps. I don’t know about you, but whenever it’s cold outside, I find I have a harder time working out. It’s much easier to hit the snooze button and stay in my cozy bed than wake up and go for a run when the sun has just barely risen. But today, I’m going to be sharing some tips with a little help from Lauren of Brooks Running that will help all of you runners out there to stay motivated and warm during when you hit the pavement this season.

No matter where you live—from the Northeast to the Southwest—I’ve got you covered. Here are the best winter running tips for all corners of the country…

If You’re in the Northwest…

It’s probably rainy and gray, but rarely is it too nasty out to go for a run. Here’s what to do:

  1. Find a lightweight, waterproof layer.
    You won’t need to bundle up, but keeping dry during showers is a must. A windbreaker or waterproof shell is a great option to wear over your layers.
  2. Plan to run during the day.
    Winter’s short days seem even shorter when it’s so gray out, but if you can get out when the sun is still out, you will find that your muscles warm up easier and you can go longer. Plus, a little vitamin D during these chilly months is a huge bonus!
  3. Put in your miles on popular running routes.
    Seeing your fellow runners slogging it out—in person or logging miles on an app—will help motivate you. I love keeping up with my friends with the Nike+ app, but you can also use the apps Move or My Fitness Pal or to log your steps.

If You’re in the Southwest…

…Then you’re in Team LC’s corner of the country! We have mostly mild temperatures and lots of sun, meaning winter running isn’t half bad. Here are our tips:

  1. Layer up with light, breathable options.
    Something simple like a long sleeve T-shirt works great if you’re running in the morning. If you’re accustomed to southwest weather, you may feel the occasional chill, but you’ll probably warm up into your run.
  2. Keep yourself accountable.
    Depending on where you are and what elevation you’re at, you’re no stranger to cold snaps and snow; it just doesn’t happen as frequently as other parts of the country. Lauren recommends making a winter promise with a running buddy to get a run in on the first snow of the year—either outside or inside on treadmills—to set a healthy trend for the season.
  3. Hit the gym.
    If you do get a sudden, unexpected freeze, try warming up inside. Do some squats, pushups, calf raises and other exercises in the gym to get your muscles firing, heart beating and internal temperature up, then hit the treadmill.

If You’re in the Central U.S…

Also known as: snow, snow, cold, snow, cold, snow. Warming up is crucial if you’re a Central U.S. gal…

  1. You’ll want a great jacket.
    Lauren suggests scooping a well insulated jacket. Remember, you can always take layers off while you’re running and tie them around your waist, but you won’t be able to add. Err on the warmer side: running while cold can be miserable.
  2. Grab a friend.
    Plan your workouts with a buddy to keep you accountable, even if that means resorting to tip No. 3…
  3. Get a back up plan.
    Consider a Plan B that involves a treadmill or cross training. We know it might not be your first option, but we also know daytime highs below freezing are a cold, harsh reality. Literally.

If You’re in the Midwest…

Sure, it’s windy, it’s cold and it snows. But I know you runners in the Midwest are nothing but tough. Here’s how to brave the cold…

  1. Schedule it in.
    “Find the best time of day to run for your schedule and for the weather. If sleet is forecast for the afternoon, this could be a perfect opportunity to wake up early and try a morning run,” says Lauren. If you’re a routine person, you might have to let your habits fall to the wayside this season and just get out there when the weather allows.
  2. Layer and accessorize.
    The right gear will keep you protected from the elements and running comfortably through some of the harshest conditions. Invest in an insulated jacket, some running gloves, ear warmers (I recommend a fleece headband for this) and some thicker running leggings.
  3. Consider a treadmill backup.
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: It might just be time to head to the gym or break out your at-home treadmill. Get a great playlist and just sweat it out indoors.

If You’re in the Northeast… 

Nor’easters are a real thing, and you northeastern ladies know that sometimes Mother Nature gets in the way of your workout. Here’s how to roll with the punches…

  1. Switch things up.
    City skylines are gorgeous, but if you’re locked into a metropolis for most of the week, try switching up your winter running routine by getting out of town for a long run or try trail running. This running occasion will make you more committed to brave the elements, and the change of scenery will energize you. Lauren’s Bonus Tip: Bring along some friends for added accountability and maximum fun times.
  2. The right gear will help.
    For nasty days, layer up. You’ll want think running leggings, a thin long sleeve, an insulated jacket, and possibly a vest too. Don’t forget to keep those ears and hands warm, too. And be careful of windburn. You might want to wear a neck warmer and a buff over your chin and nose.
  3. Consider a treadmill run as a worst-case-scenario option.
    Try our Fat Burning Treadmill Workout or this interval workout. And if you’re in the mood to cross train, I love this Stairmaster workout and this kettle bells workout. Don’t forget to work those abs, either!

If You’re in the Southeast…

Lucky you! You live in a runner’s winter paradise.

  1. No excuses here!
    Mild temperatures mean you can get away with a lot in the winter in this part of the U.S., even the occasional no-shirt or sports-bra-only run. So go for it…as often as you can!
  2. Hit the trails.
    If seeing your friend’s snow-filled running shots on Instagram is making you a little jealous of their winter wonderland, try switching up your running routes. Lauren suggests getting on the trails or running through a new neighborhood. Adding in variety will keep you motivated this season and throughout the entire year.
  3. Get in-vest-ed.
    For drizzly days or cooler temps, throw on a vest. No sleeves means your arms can breathe while your core stays protected.

Do you have any tips for staying motivated to work out this time of year?

Thanks again to Lauren for sharing these tips! Click here to see more winter running tips.

xx
Allison
Team LC

P.S. If you liked this post, be sure to read my post on how to learn to love running by clicking here!

Photo: Huffington Post
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